Facebook goes audible with Friends Aloud Lite app

Apr 3, 2011
Tech

If keeping up with your Facebook news feed is so important to you that you do dumb things like read it while driving, Friends Aloud Lite can make your life safer while making sure you don’t miss a status. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Friends Aloud Lite takes the past 10 posts on […]

If keeping up with your Facebook news feed is so important to you that you do dumb things like read it while driving, Friends Aloud Lite can make your life safer while making sure you don’t miss a status.

Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Friends Aloud Lite takes the past 10 posts on your Facebook news feed and reads them aloud. You can also choose to have the app read up to 50 comments left on each update. The computer voice used in Friends Aloud Lite does a better job than many robo-voices I’ve heard, managing to turn commonly used text-speak such as LOL and OMG into “laughing out loud” and “oh my gosh” and translating emoji into “winky face” or “frown.” I found that the app handled names (even the more unusual ones) with ease, but struggled over words in caps (spelling out each letter) and most conjunctions. Punctuation also presented a bit of a challenge, which made for an entertaining listen.

I do like that Friends Aloud Lite offers muting for friends or “liked pages” you don’t want to hear from. It’d be extra neat if the app could weed out photos, video and link posts, too, since you can’t access them directly from the app and you could probably live without hearing titles read aloud.

Friends Aloud Lite is the free, ad-supported version of the app and has some limitations, such as only being able to access the past 10 posts and no support for background reading. The full version of Friends Aloud is available ad-free with no status limitations for $4.99. When refreshing your feed, Friends Aloud Lite doesn’t remember what it has already read, so depending on how Facebook-obsessed your friends are, you might find yourself listening to the same statuses on repeat. Of course, you can hit the stop button anytime, but scrambling for your phone isn’t the greatest idea in hands-free situations.

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I don’t access Facebook enough to need Friends Aloud Lite, and power-users will probably need more than the available 10 posts, but Friends Aloud does what it claims, decently. Luckily, it’s free price tag makes it easy to see for yourself.

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